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Today's Opinions

  • Author's health is 'the talk of Harvard'

    I’m the talk of Harvard University. At least that is what my oncologist, Dr. Philip Dy of Crossroads Cancer Center in Effingham, tells me.

    Let me explain that statement. I’m the talk of a group of 23 Harvard doctors specializing in the study and treatment of breast cancer. Their names are unknown to me, and my name is unknown to them. However, I’m sure my patient profile number reads something like BR-549.

  • It's up to us to save VCC jobs

    Once again, Vandalia officials are doing everything possible to preserve jobs at Vandalia Correctional Center. And, once again, local residents are encouraged to be part of that effort.

    This latest tussle between the state and our community comes about five years after a local effort, led by Mayor Rick Gottman, staved off then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to close VCC. The key player in that fight was the public.

  • 'Those Were The Days' event stirs residents' memories of earlier times in Brownstown

    A week ago Sunday, on July 19, the Brownstown Library sponsored "Those Were The Days" history day at Brownstown City Hall.

    The event gathered in one place some of Brownstown’s older residents, who had been asked to pass on their knowledge and memories about early Brownstown to the younger generations.

  • City right to fix old water lines during project

    Just a couple of months into the project, we’re beginning to see signs of how the TEA-21 project will enhance our downtown business district. And beyond those visible indicators, there are facets of the project that we will not see.

    Among those facets are new water lines along Gallatin Street.

    Action taken by the Vandalia City Council on Monday helps to prove the worthiness of the enhancement project.

    City officials knew beforehand that significant work was needed underground. Separate storm sewer and sanitary sewer lines ranked at the top of that list.

  • Fayette County Fair has a colorful past

    The 80th anniversary of the Fayette County Fair was celebrated this year with events the organizers could not have imagined back in 1930, when it all began.

    It has always puzzled me that the county fair was not located at the county seat. Same with Effingham and Montgomery counties, where smaller towns, Altamont and Butler, respectively, host the annual county fair.

    I figured it was politics, or because there was a sulky track already in Brownstown. However, my research into the beginnings of the Fayette County Fair held another explanation.

  • We must fight Quinn's plan for layoffs at VCC

    Though Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly this week moved closer to a budget compromise, at least one element proposed last week by Quinn needs to be revisited.

    Last Tuesday, the governor rolled out a plan that called for sweeping layoffs in a number of state agencies. In all, his proposal would cut thousands of state jobs. Many of those cuts would dismantle social service agencies that serve the most vulnerable among us. Others target correctional facilities.

  • G.A.R. encampment records tell story

    For my article last week on Thomas C. Grandfield, I depended on the family history to tell his story, although it was the reunion ribbons from encampments, or reunions, of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) pinned to his coat that first piqued my interest.

    The G.A.R., an organization of Union Civil War veterans, was founded in 1876. From that year, they hosted annual reunions, called encampments.

    The 45th annual encampment, "Along the Rivers," was held at Joliet on June 13-15, 1911, and the following is an excerpt from an account by a person who was there.

  • Find a solution for river intake

    It’s way past time to do something.

    It was about a decade ago that the city of Vandalia had to turn to an outside engineering firm to solve the problem of odor spreading from its sewage treatment plant. City officials are now trying the same approach with its new Kaskaskia River intake.

    The city council agreed on Monday to hire Gonzalez Companies to look into that problem, and that action is none too soon.